Dear Praying Friends & Family,
It has been said that when God blesses, opposition is right around the corner. We rejoice in God’s favor on the ministry here, and we rest in his grace during trials.
Our main church continues to flourish. In the last two months we have had big attendances for special days, but also a constant flow of guests for almost every service, as well as professions of faith and baptisms. We recently started preaching through the book of Acts. Much of what we have seen in the ministry here reminds me of those special days in the early church. People from every background are finding freedom in Christ and community in his body, the church. There is a spirit of unity, passion, boldness, and generosity as Spirit-filled believers work together to fulfill the Great Commission.
Letting Them Go
As many of you know, two years ago we started a second church in the Café Madrid neighborhood. We have worked alongside this church and its leaders since its inception. The pastor we trained, Díver Ortiz, has been doing an excellent job, and the church has grown. In September, we commissioned Pastor Díver’s family, as well as five other families from our church, to work in this daughter church full time. This change is bittersweet for us. They will be able to focus entirely on the other church; however, we will have much less contact with these families whom we love. It is all part of growing up. We sometimes joke that we feel like spiritual grandparents, even though we’re only in our 30’s. On a positive note, we now have more room to continue to grow in our first church, and newer leaders have the chance to step up and fill in the gaps left behind.
New Lebrija Church Update
In our last letter, I mentioned one of our next church plants, located in the town of Lebrija. God has moved over the previous two months, and we think we have found an ideal building to rent to help them get off the ground. It is easily accessible to around 50,000 people, large enough to get started, and at a fantastic price. Hopefully, sometime in October or November, we can sign the rental contract and begin to get everything ready for this exciting new stage of ministry. The leader of this work, Juan Cruz, is very encouraged, as are we, at how God is working things out. If you’d like to help with start-up expenses (chairs, essential sound equipment, literature, pulpit, etc.), you can send a gift through Macedonia and mark it “A. Vance — church plant.”
Our primary goal as missionaries isn’t just to build one megachurch that a lot of people attend. Instead, it is to make disciples that make disciples; it is to train leaders who train leaders; it is to plant churches that plant churches. With this in mind, we are dreaming big. There is already a pipeline of believers in various stages of training that we plan to send out someday soon, as God allows. We are also close to opening the next two churches, but this is a small effort in light of the task at hand. We need at least 50 more churches for our city, hundreds more for our country, and thousands more for Latin America. Then we look at the world and realize even those numbers are small in comparison to the great need. We believe we can reach the world in our generation, but we must get serious! Will you dream big with us?
Our Son, Amaziah
Many of you know we were expecting another child. A couple of weeks ago, Aubrie suddenly lost a lot of blood and went into early labor. Our son, Amaziah, was stillborn on September 19th and is now in the presence of Jesus. We held his lifeless body in our hands as we cried out to God for strength and grace. We don’t yet understand why this happened, but we trust our sovereign God, who works all things out for his glory and our good. Continue to pray Aubrie’s healing, as well as our family in the days ahead.
Prayer Requests and Needs
- For our two established churches and their leaders
- For the Lebrija church plant, and funds to help them get started
- For the Real de Minas church plant (more on this in the next letter!)
- For the many Bible studies going on each week as future church plants
- For the pastors and the leaders whom we are training
- For our family in the loss of our son and the raising of our four daughters
Thank you for your love and support. Let us know how we can be praying for you!
May Christ Be Magnified,
Aaron, Aubrie, Amira, Anabel, Aris & Alethea Vance
What an amazing time we had on December 20th with the children and families of Café Madrid, a poor community on the outskirts of our city of Bucaramanga Colombia. Our church, Iglesia Bíblica Bautista El Faro jumped in and participated in an amazing way. Dozens of people here collectively spent hundreds of hours preparing food, gifts, logistics and more to make the day a success.
And what a success it was!
We had 157 children sign up who had already been attending our Bible club program on Saturdays. These came, and brought people with them! We were expecting around 200, and God blessed us with over 250 people! Gifts were given, songs were sung, snacks were snacked upon and the Message of Christmas was preached. We thank the Lord for several who made professions of faith, receiving the BEST gift of Christmas, the salvation offered by Jesus Christ.
Please enjoy this video we put together of the special day:
Thank you to those who gave online to this need. It was a help to us as we were able to bless many children who may not have had a Christmas otherwise. We are constantly seeing lives changed in this neighborhood. Pray that God continues to work, and pray for us as we wait upon His timing to officially begin a church here!
If you would like to give toward future projects like this one, you can send a check to our mission agency, Macedonia World Baptist Missions, Inc. (PO BO 519 Braselton, GA 30517), or online, here.
May God bless. Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!
God’s Work In Café Madrid
For the past 3 months, our new church plant (just 5 months old), has sponsored an outreach ministry for children in an outskirt community of our city of Bucaramanga, called Café Madrid. I am amazed to see the impact God is making through us in this short time, both in families from the community and in our church people.
Changed Lives — Changed Destinies
These Children are thrilled to see us each time we show up, bringing their chairs to the local park, with smiles on their faces, ready to sing, say their memory verses, do a craft, eat a snack and hear a Bible lesson. Many of these do not know, or have been separated from their parents. Many of these would end up in jail, in gangs or dead within 5-10 years. Many of these might be lucky to eat one meal a day. Many of these have never understood or known the love of Jesus and his people. That is, until now. Children and adults are accepting Christ and experiencing a life and hope that is above circumstances.
Physical vs. Spiritual Food
We understand that giving physical help (humanitarian assistance) without the spiritual (real missions) is empty and non-profitable in the long-term. However, we also remember God’s words in Proverbs 28:27, “He that giveth unto the poor shall not lack: but he that hideth his eyes shall have many a curse.” (See also Proverbs 3:27-28; 14:31; 19:17; 22:9; 31:20; Isaiah 58:10; Matthew 25:31-46; Acts 20:35; Romans 12:20; James 2:15-17; 1 John 3:16-18).
Big Hearts, Big Plans
With that in mind, we are planning a big Christmas event this weekend. 157 children have registered (who have already been coming to our Bible Club), and many of them are bringing whatever family they have around. A small choir will sing songs they have been practicing, I’ll share a Christmas salvation message, we’re making traditional Christmas food for everyone, and we’ll give away special gifts to each of these kids. In a special box, we’ll put a few small toys (according to the child’s age and gender), a toothbrush, toothpaste, a bar of soap, a book of Bible stories, a children’s gospel tract and a personalized letter from somebody in our church. That’s the most thrilling part for me. Our church folks have really jumped on board with this program and are working day and night as a team to see it come to pass. It’s really going to be a great day!
Your Part — Help us be a blessing!
If you want to be a part of blessing a Colombian child this Christmas, there is still time to give. You can sponsor a child’s Christmas this year for $5! You can donate through our mission agency, Macedonia World Baptist Missions, who will then forward the funds to us. They’ve made it easy to give online through Paypal, or you can send a check to: P.O. Box 519, Braselton, GA 30517 (make it out to MWBM, Inc. and put “Aaron Vance – Special Project” in the memo). All contributions are tax deductible and you will receive a receipt. Any extra funds that come in will be used toward this ministry for future projects and events.
And above all, please pray. Pray that everything goes smoothly. Pray that we can be a blessing to these families. Pray more precious souls accept God’s perfect gift of salvation. That is, after all, the real reason we celebrate CHRISTmas!
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” – James 1:17 –
Enjoy this slideshow of a few pictures we have taken over the last couple months.